Fairfield Among Municipalities to Receive Community Development Block Grant

Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, Sheriff Armando Fontoura, Fairfield Administrator Joe Catenaro, Fairfield Mayor James Gasparini and Essex County Chief of Staff Phil Alagia Credits: Glen Frieson

FAIRFIELD, NJ — The Township of Fairfield was recently among the 13 Essex County municipalities and 33 non-profit community organizations that received a total of about $5.1 million from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program.

The CDBG and ESG programs are funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and administered by the Essex County Division of Housing and Community Development.

Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. and Sheriff Armando Fontoura are pictured above with Fairfield Administrator Joe Catenaro, Fairfield Mayor James Gasparini and Essex County Chief of Staff Phil Alagia, who serves as the municipal liaison to Fairfield.

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“Programs supported through the CDBG and ESG programs are direct investments to provide services that enhance our quality of life and help stabilize our neighborhoods by modernizing our infrastructure and supporting programs that assist vulnerable populations,” DiVincenzo said. “These federal grants enable us to upgrade our sidewalks and roads, enhance handicap access, address mental health needs, support food pantries, and stimulate the overall development in our communities.”

A total of $2,980,372 was awarded to 13 municipalities and county programs in the Essex County area. According to DiVincenzo, grant funding will be used to repave roadways, improve handicapped accessibility at public buildings, and install new sidewalks.

In Fairfield, a grant in the amount of $46,305 to fund handicap-accessible sidewalk extensions on Sand Road.

Grants ranged in size from $34,055 to Millburn to enhance barrier-free access in the Millburn Public Library to $431,200 to West Orange for improvements to Meade Street and Columbia Street, handicap-accessible upgrades to the Ginny Dunkel Pool, and to support to the Main Street Counseling Center and Bethany Center for Champions.

Essex County was provided with $941,814 for program oversight, monitoring and administration (A chart of all the recipients is attached.)

A total of $1,728,701 was awarded directly to non-profit community organizations. According to DiVincenzo, this grant funding will support family counseling, youth mentoring programs, vehicle purchases, vocational training, housing and foreclosure education programs, facility renovations and senior support services.

Grants ranged in size from $6,860 to Big Brothers & Big Sisters in Newark for a youth mentoring program to $48,020 to The North Ward Center’s Casa Israel Senior Center for senior programming. Essex County was provided with grants of $83,300 to purchase a new senior bus, $321,440 to reconstruct Scotland Road in Orange, $955,131 for a home improvement program and $91,140 for the Tenant Resource Center. (A chart of all the recipients is attached.)

A total of $416,165 was awarded to eight local social service agencies through the ESG program. Funding will be used to renovate shelter facilities, support housing programs and homeless prevention services, and support a drop in center. Grants range in size from $9,250 to Isaiah House in East Orange for shelter operations to $100,449 to the YMCA of Newark and Vicinity to support Y-Care Shelter Nights and rapid rehousing programs. Essex County was provided with a $31,212 grant to administer the program. (A chart of all the recipients is attached.)

“The beauty of the CDBG and ESG programs is their ability to fund a broad array of projects without affecting the budgets of the county, municipalities or organizations receiving the grants,” said Anibal Ramos, director of the Essex County Department of Economic Development, Training and Employment. “This is a great example of a tax relief program that benefits all county citizens.”

Municipalities and non-profit organizations must meet specific criteria established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to be eligible for grant funding. These funds have no impact on the county budget and cannot be used as revenue in the county’s operating budget. 

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